Page images

that is why it gets over our higher bottoms more frequently. As is often said, we do not have any more low bottoms, and it is all high bottoms, but the high bottoms are now in the flood stage taking the place of the low bottoms and they are overflowed as frequently as the low bottoms used to be. There are three things so far that are increasing our floods—the navigation projects, the power dam, and the matter of clearing the forest and handling the soil.

Senator ROBERTSON. You said that for the last 4 years you have been flooded out, and previous to that the floods would be about once in 3 years?

Mr. DESSIEUX. Yes, sir.

Senator ROBERTSON. Do you feel that the work on this 6-foot channel—these ramps and various things that are being put in the riverhave been a contributing cause of the yearly flood?

Mr. DESSIEUX. To some extent; yes; because it has narrowed the channel considerably.

Senator ROBERTSON. Do you feel that this whole Missouri River project should be a matter for consultation and joint approach by the Army engineers and by the Bureau of Reclamation?

Mr. DESSIEUX. Yes, sir; I do; but time is the essence, with us. It is everything with us. We must have relief now or there will not be anything to rescue in our part of the country, either as to the farmers financially, or as to the land itself.

Senator OVERTON. You are not in favor then of striking out the flood-control project from the bill?

Mr. DESSIEUX. No; I am not in favor of anything that would delay this essential legislation. It seems to me that both sides have been very ably and fully presented, here, the reclamation plan and the Army engineers' plan, and the two conflict only in a small portion, and if they cannot get together, on them, I think Congress should decide it for them and pass the legislation, and fill in the gap where they fail to agree.

Senator OVERTON. All right. Thank you.
Mr. DESSIEUX. Thank you, gentlemen.

Senator OVERTON. Mr. Shutler, of the Vermont State Planning Board.

Senator ROBERTSON. I think Mr. Shutler wants to be left over till Monday, if you are going to have a meeting, Mr. Chairman, because he wishes to make his statement when Senator Austin is present.

Senator OVERTON. I reckon that applies also to the Delaware River Commission, represented by Mr. Allen. Judge Stone wants to testify. FURTHER STATEMENT OF CLIFFORD H. STONE, DIRECTOR OF THE


Mr. STONE. My name is Clifford H. Stone, director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board. I appear here for that board and for the Governor of the State of Colorado.

My appearance here today is principally in support of the amendments to sections 4 and 6 of H. R. 4485. Those are the amendments which have just been presented this morning by Senator Millikin, of Colorado. Section 4 is not changed except as to an addition. The addition is that surplus water made available by a reservoir under the control of the War Department may be sold to municipalities, private concerns, or individuals, only to the extent that the right tothe use of water for those purposes has been estabiished by proceedings in conformity with whatever State laws are applicable at the place of use. That provision las particular significance to the arid West, the section of the country west of the ninety-seventh meridian.

It, however, does not in any way interfere with the situation east of that line. If there are any applicable laws in the eastern area, then it becomes applicable; if there are no laws that pertain to the situation, then it would have no effect.

Senator OVERTON. For what purpose would there be the State control of the water?

Mr. STONE. The purpose is this, Mr. Chairman. Senator OVERTON. You mentioned, just now. Mr. STONE. I stated, Mr. Chairman, that it had particular application in the area of country west of the ninety-seventh meridian.

Senator OVERTON. I understand that. You said that the water could be disposed of only in accordance with State laws, for a certain purpose. What are those purposes? Mr. STONE. I just started to give that to you.

Senator OVERTON. Execuse me. I thought you had already given that.

Mr. STONE. No.
Senator OVERTON. All right.

Mr. STONE. Taking up the situation in the arid section where water is appropriated in accordance with State laws, the section has particular application for this reason. In many cases the water which would be impounded by a flood-control reservoir and which might contain some conservation capacity or some surplus water which could be sold, is water which heretofore has been appropriated as flood water by irrigation interests. That water would be available when it came. In many cases it would some at a time when it would be of little help to the farmer.

When that water is caught in a flood-control reservoir, and if that is strictly a flood-control reservoir, and the water released after the flood, then the farmers below would not be adversely affected but on the contrary would be benefited. The water would be regulated and would be more useful to them. On the other hand if some of that water is retained as surplus water in that reservoir and then disposed of to a municipality or a private concern it might and in many cases would be water which belonged under the appropriation to some farmer or group of farmers.

The theory of this amendment is that if that situation should occur, then the farmer or group of farmers who appropriated it would have have the first right to that water and would of course be required to pay for it; and that would be covered by section 6. But under 4, the farmers are not included; so we believe that if it is sold to a private individual for industrial use or to a city or town for municipal purposes, then that city or individual should acquire a right to that water pursuant to law. That is only, it seems to us, in conformity with the law which has existed there ever since the country was settled, and it is a fair provision.

I have discussed this amendment with Colonel Reber. I do not know what the opinion of the corps is, after they have had a chance to study it. They will have to speak for themselves, but this provision, unless it is amended as we suggest, it may have the effect of depriving individuals of water in the West to which they have acquired a right.

Furthermore, the amendment brings the procedure of the Corps of Army Engineers in selling the surplus water in strict accord with the procedure in the use of water in all other cases in the West, including the storage of water by the Bureau of Reclamation. Under section 8 of the Reclamation Act of 1902, the Bureau of Reclamation is subjected to that same condition.

East of the ninety-seventh meridian I imagine that in most cases the amendment would not be applicable because there probably would not be any applicable laws, therefore it does not work against the interests of any other section of the country, and we do not desire that it should, but we most respectfully submit to you, Mr. Chairman, that it is a very desirable and necessary provision if any water is to be stored by flood control for sale and disposal to individuals or municipalities, that the right in the western part of the country to that water should be acquired pursuant to the State laws. That provision does not interfere with flood control but it puts the provision in line with the existing law which underlies the development of that section.

Senator OVERTON. Under the State law can any revenue be collected by the Federal Government for the use of the water ?

Mr. STONE. The theory of section 4 as I take it—and I believe it is a sound one—is that if there are certain benefits in the way of surplus water whch can be realized by cities or private concerns, they should pay for those benefits in accordance with arrangements which would be made with the War Department. I believe that is a sound theory, and the only objection we have to section 4 as it appears in the bill as passed by the House, is that the War Department or the Government does not acquire ownership in that water merely by capturing it; but, in the West, that the right to use water is acquired or may be acquired by some one who complies with State laws, and the one who buys it and pays for it likewise also should acquire the right to the use of that water under the State laws. Does that answer your question?

There is nothing under the State laws which would prevent the sale of it. Does that answer your question, Mr. Chairman?

Senator OVERTON. There is nothing then in the amendment that is contrary to the provision that the Secretary of War may charge for the use of the water?

Mr. STONE. We do not intend that there should be. On the contrary, in my personal judgment, where there are benefits that go to private individuals, they should pay for it, but we only ask that they acquire the right under existing law to the use of the water, and I may say that there is an amendment, I believe proposed by the Secretary of the Interior, which provided that the right and the disposal should be in accordance with the reclamation laws. This does differ from that suggestion of the Secretary of the Interior. We understand this sec

tion 4 to apply to the disposal of water to municipalities and private concerns, and to persons for use other than irrigation. The reason we interpret it that way is because section 6 takes care of irrigation.

There may be situations where it will be advantageous to the War Department to dispose of that water in a manner different from that prescribed by the reclamation laws, since irrigation is not involved, and if that is true, we see no reason why the War Department should not have the right under this provision; but we do say that if it is done in the West, then the person to whom the water is sold must acquire a right to it in conformity to the State law.

Senator OVERTON. Is there anything in the amendment that would prohibit the Secretary of War from determining whether there is surplus water that is available?

Mr. STONE. I take it that that is entirely within the determination of the Secretary of War, because that is a structure which will be constructed and operated by the Secretary of War, and the determination of whether there is surplus water will be within his hands, and I should assume that the Secretary of War would not agree to sell any surplus water unless, in the reservoir operation, it was there.

Senator OVERTON. I understand. Then the purpose of the amendment is simply this—that the actual disposition of the water, who shall get the benefit of it, will be determined by State law, is that right, or not?

Mr. STONE. That is partly right. After all, the operation is in the Army and they have the right under this section to dispose of it, but if they do dispose of it, the effect of the amendment is to say the person to whom they dispose of it must have a right to it under the State law.

Senator OVERTON. Well, that is what I said.
Mr. STONE. Yes.

Senator CORDON. That means, Mr. Chairman, as I view it, what you are getting at is that a condition precedent to the right to purchase this water is a compliance with the laws of the State with reference to appropriation of water.

Mr. STONE. That is right, Senator.
Senator OVERTON. All right.

Mr. STONE. Now with respect to section 6, the amendment offered by Senator Millikin, I believe is almost identical with the amendment proposed by the Secretary of the Interior in his letter to this committee. May I also state that the amendment is almost identical to-I believe-section 4 of the river and harbor bill, and that section, Mr. Chairman, is one which I note was inserted by your committee before reporting out the bill, and the purpose of section 6 amended as here proposed is to bring this in conformity with the procedure under the river and harbor bill. The procedure should be no different in the flood-control bill, and it is also for the purpose of prescribing that where there are irrigation benefits in a floodcontrol reservoir, or if there are other facilities to be constructed by the Reclamation Bureau, to make use of the water stored for irrigation, then there must be compliance fully with the reclamation law.

We see no reason why in the West where reclamation is practiced there should be any difference in the use of water for irrigation, from a reservoir constructed by the Corps of Army Engineers and a reservoir constructed by the Bureau of Reclamation. I believe that the section which your committees put into the river and harbor bill was wise, and if it was, then there is every reason why section 6 in this bill should be amended in substantial conformity with the one which appeared there.

Senator OVERTON. Will it be satisfactory if we take the revised provision of the river and harbor bill and make it section 6 of this bill?

Mr. STONE. If Colonel Reber is here-is he here?
Colonel REBER. Yes.

Mr. STONE. Colonel Reber and I compared this proposed language, and we found that there was no substantial difference.

Colonel REBER. That is correct. There are a few minor modifications.

Mr. STONE. So that if the one you put in the river and harbor bill is inserted here it will be substantially the same as the amendment proposed here.

Senator OVERTON. All right. In the amendment that has just been read, though, that you are now presenting

Mr. STONE. That has been presented by Senator Millikin, of Colorado.

Senator OVERTON. Under his amendment, what becomes of the moneys received? Are they deposited in the Treasury?

Mr. STONE. The moneys received remain as provided in the House bill; they go into the Treasury. We made no change in that, Mr. Chairman.

Now, I do want to call your attention to the fact that in an attempt to amend section 6 of the original bill in the House there was inserted the provision that the use of water stored for conservation purposes in the flood-control project should be “in accordance with the reclamation laws." We submit that that is not sufficient, in that it is too restrictive, and that section 6 should be fully amended as set forth here and as set forth in the rivers and harbors bill.

There is just one other thing in this. I will be very brief. I do not want, Mr. Chairman, to make any further argument on what is known as the O'Mahoney amendment, because that has been pretty well threshed out here, but in view of some comments this morning and in order to clear up the intent of the amendment, particularly section (b) of the amendment, I wish to call attention to the fact that this amendment will have the effect of carrying out the suggestion made by Senator Cordon.

In other words, if this amendment were inserted and the review report were made by the Corps of Army Engineers after consultation with the Bureau of Reclamation and the States, and the differences by virtue of that review report were composed, then that report would come back to Congress with the concurrence of the War Department and the Corps of Army Engineers and the States, and in that event no further authorization would be necessary, the project would stand authorized and the further action of Congress would be unnecessary. It would furnish us the machinery to carry out what seemed to me the rather constructive suggestion made by Senator Cordon this morning.

Mr. Chairman, you directod to me the question whether or not it would be satisfactory to take the amendment in the river and harbor

« PreviousContinue »